Team Bath Netball move into the semi-final off the back of a 19-goal loss to Loughborough Lightning while Manchester Thunder finished their regular season with a 64-37 victory over Sirens; the Superleague semi-finals will be live on Sky Sports Action and Mix from 1.30pm on Saturday
By Emma Thurston
Last Updated: 22/06/21 9:51am
Tracey Neville has said Manchester Thunder will not be underestimating Team Bath Netball, as the two prepare for their Vitality Netball Superleague semi-final.
Team Bath Netball move into the play-off encounter off the back of a 19-goal loss to Loughborough Lightning, while Manchester Thunder finished their regular season with a 64-37 victory over Strathclyde Sirens.
This season, the two teams have met twice before, with Team Bath taking full control back in Round 5 before just three goals separated the two in Round 14.
|Round 5||Team Bath Netball 60-35 Manchester Thunder|
|Round 14||Manchester Thunder 41-44 Team Bath Netball|
“If you want to win the Superleague, then you’ve got to beat everyone,” Neville said on Sky Sports.
“Bath have a world-class coach, they are a world-class team and we’re not underestimating them. Against Lightning and Mavericks, we didn’t see the real Team Bath, but those two results don’t make them a bad team.”
The results that Neville speaks of – a 46-35 loss to Mavericks and the 54-35 defeat against Lightning – will need analysis from Team Bath’s Anna Stembridge though.
Prior to Round 18 and Team Bath’s second defeat to Mavericks, they had been flying high at the top of the table, with confidence levels soaring. Now, just two weeks on, the most decorated franchise in Superleague’s history will need to manage a quick turnaround directly before finals weekend.
Neville, who knows many of Team Bath’s players well, believes they can do that and with Thunder head coach Karen Greig, she will be preparing the defending champions to face a restored Bath side on Saturday afternoon.
“This season, you’ve seen Manchester Thunder turn it around, Loughborough Lightning turn it around and these teams haven’t got to the semi-finals for no reason,” she said. “All are mentally resilient teams.
“This week is vital, we’ve all come off matches and we’re going into a double-header, which physically and mentally is going to be tough. There’s a different persona around semi-finals and finals [too].
“We are never, ever going to underestimate Team Bath. This match will go down with the classics, we’ve had semi-finals before against Bath and it’s a positive semi-final for the fans!”
In the other semi-final, Loughborough Lightning will take on Leeds Rhinos Netball and Lightning’s Beth Cobden believes that they are ready to up their game again in the knockout contest.
“We’re here to play and we’re here to win,” she said Sky Sports after their victory over Bath in Round 20.
“It’s just about working on the small things and continuing to build. We’ve had a few shots at potential semi-finals with our past few games [against Bath and Thunder], now it’s time to go and do the real thing.
“There are three awesome sides in the semi-finals and we’ve just got to go out there do our best and see what happens.”
Look out for profiles of all four semi-finalists over the course of the week, with insights from head coaches and players. Plus, Tamsin Greenway will be bringing her expert analysis ahead of a weekend of knockout netball at the Copper Box Arena in London.
Sky Sports is your home of netball. The Vitality Netball Superleague continues on Saturday, with the semi-finals live on Sky Sports Action and Mix and streamed on the Sky Sports YouTube channel from 1.30pm.